IN HONOR AND IN MEMORY
I ran a 5K today. I hadn't planned to, but my friend Linda wanted to run it and wanted me to go with her. It's a day for friends.
I was thinking about my friend Susan, who's doing Ironman Kona today. At age 65. I am so inspired by Sue! She's a dynamite athlete and she looks fantastic. And she's in Kona! She won her age group at Ironman Lake Placid this summer and qualified for KONA!!! So I kept thinking about Sue.
And I"m thinking about my other friend, Pat. My "late" friend Pat. One of my other biking buddies. We rode a lot together. Pat, in her late 60's, was just getting intobiking; I was in my late 50's and kind of coaching her. We biked together for 2 summers, getting ready for the SavageMan Triathlon. Pat was the biker in a relay version of the triathlon, 2 years in a row. At 71 she was the oldest-ever participant. She was thrilled that she cut 11 minutes off her time from the year before.
Well, a month after SavageMan last year, Pat was at Oakland, MD's Autumn Glory Festival. She went to the open-air Farmers' Market, and then while crossing the street to go to the recycling station, she was hit by a car. A pickup truck, actually, driven by a 22-year-old girl whose life was forever changed in that moment. Pat was taken off the ventilator the next day, and she did not breathe on her own. It was over.
That was a year ago today. Well, a year tomorrow, but it happened on Saturday of the Autumn Glory Festival. After today's Autumn Glory 5K, my friend Linda and I went to the festival and walked around town and got festival food (sausage sandwich with peppers and onions! Nachos! Ice cream!) and I thought about Pat walking around that very festival last year. And I kept looking at my watch and thinking, Sue is probably starting the swim, right about now.
Sue, 65, in Kona; Pat, 71, gone for a year now. It was a very strange day for me.
Pat, last year on Saturday of the Autumn Glory Festival, was excited about going to the fiddle contest that evening. My mother, who was 91 then, was competing, and Pat was going to have her over for dinner and then drive her to the contest. I was away, in Michigan with my husband's family, so I was going to miss the contest. Pat had missed it the year before and was so excited not only anticipating the contest -- she loved bluegrass music -- but escorting the contest's oldest competitor, my mother! She had bought vegetables at the Farmer's Market to have for dinner that night. She didn't make it to the contest. Amazingly, a member of her family called my mother from Pat's bedside, breaking the news to her, not just as a friend of Pat's but because they knew Pat had been going to drive her to the contest. They didn't even know my mother but they knew Pat had been excited about taking her to the contest, and that now she would have to find another ride.
Tonight, I am taking my mother, now 92, to the contest. Yup, at 92 she's competing in a country fiddling contest. My son, who's 37, is playing guitar accompaniment for her. Sometimes I do it, sometimes he does.
Here's a link to a local magazine story about my mom and her fiddle playing. I've hunted and hunted and can't believe I can't find a picture. There's one in the story.
So, again, this is a very strange day for me. I'm jubilant that Sue is in Kona. I'm grieving because Pat is gone and her death was so entwined with this festival and my mother's contest. And I'm rooting for my mother to win the contest :-)
Just found out on Ironmanlive.com that Sue's out of the water! Bike hard, Sue!
Oh, one more thing.... I won my age group (female 60-69) at the 5K, with my time of 28:33.